Saturday afternoon, Texas Rangers coach Howard Johnson had to be hospitalized after being hit by a foul ball in the face during the team's game against the Cleveland Indians, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Johnson was in the dugout and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher.
Here are some more details, via Grant:
Johnson was in the Rangers dugout, leaning on the rail, according to onlookers, and was looking at first base when Keone Kela delivered a pitch to Cleveland's Erik Gonzalez, who fouled it off to the first base side. Johnson reportedly was turning towards the ball as he was hit on the left side of the face just below his eye.
He immediately went to the ground and was attended to by athletic trainers and EMT before being taken placed on a stretcher and carted off the field. He had a towel applied to his face as he was leaving.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus told Grant that Johnson was "awake and responding to questions," which is good news. Given the nature of the incident, Johnson will surely be tested for bone fractures and neurological damage. Here's the Sunday morning Rangers press release on the matter:
Texas Rangers minor league coach Howard Johnson was struck in the area of his left cheekbone just under his eye by a line drive foul ball while in the dugout during the fourth inning of Saturday's Texas Rangers-Cleveland Indians game at Surprise Stadium.
He was transported to Del Webb Medical Center in Sun City West for immediate treatment and then was examined by Arizona Coyotes team ophthalmologist Dr. Jeffrey Edelstein on Saturday evening. Dr. Edelstein confirmed that Johnson has several fractures in his cheekbone but that his eye function was good. It does not appear that Johnson will require surgery at this time. He was released and will undergo rest and continued evaluation at his residence in Arizona for a period of a week, when he will be re-examined by Dr. Edelstein.
The Rangers would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for Hojo and his family during this time.
Johnson will be the hitting coach at Triple-A Round Rock this season after winning High-A championships as a manager at High Desert (California League) and Down East (Carolina League) in his first two seasons in the Texas organization.
The 57-year-old Johnson played 14 years in the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, and Chicago Cubs from 1982-95. Johnson has been coaching in Texas's farm system for a few years now.
This season all 30 MLB teams extended the behind-the-plate netting to at least the end of the dugout to help protect fans from such foul line drives. The extended netting stemmed from an incident last season, when a little girl was struck in the head by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium.